Opinion: Black and white

POSTED: 10/18/12 12:18 PM

The black and white thinking Peter Gunn expresses in his observations about capitalism and socialism leaves little space for nuance. That’s okay, but it shows us where Gunn stands: he is a rather unapologetic capitalist who puts the blame for everything that is wrong in the world at large and in St. Maarten in particular, on socialist ideas.
If we agreed with Mr. Gunn, we would obviously not be writing this.
We almost fell off our chair when we read that “all three parties on parliament are of the same socialist ideology” because we think that the parties and the independent members of parliament do not have an ideology. We do not even have parties. These are just names that could change any moment into something different, but they have one thing in common: they do not mean anything, they do not have an ideology and they are therefore also not based on socialism.
The idea that all socialists are sods while all capitalists are responsible earthlings is so black and white that even Mr. Gunn must realize he is painting a caricature of both. There are plenty of rich and well to do people with what Mr. Gunn would call socialist ideas and there are a lot of poor sods that are totally right-wing.
Now if Mr. Gunn made the case that the parliament is not functioning the way it should and truly control the government, we would wholeheartedly agree. But it has nothing to do with ideology.
The key word in many ways is, as Mr. Gunn well knows, is the capitalist principle of greed. That is directing everything politicians do, in spite of their endless mantras that they are working for the people. Politicians who let more than $9 million slip through their fingers for an empty building have other things on their mind than being a good guardian of the people’s money. They are asleep, ignorant, indifferent, or they have a vested interest somewhere. That is not unique to St. Maarten, it happens everywhere.
The free market that capitalists like Mr. Gunn love so much has its downsides is not new. Remember Enron? Arthur Andersen? Bernie Madoff? The bank bailouts?
So let’s not sugar-coat the capitalists of this world as people who believe in personal responsibility, faith, work, family, free market and limited government.
A free market without any rules and without any control mechanism in place is bound to blow itself up.
Capitalists with a Stalinist mentality believe it is every man for himself; those who don’t make it: tough, see you in hell or in heaven.
The United States is ruled by the idea that there are two kinds of people: conservatives and those darn liberals. The truth is that most people harbor a bit of both. To make a society work, people have to get off their high horse and recognize that working together is the only way forward. That is a more positive approach and also one that is more productive – a term any capitalist will understand.

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